As Zainab (PBUH) grew up, many of the noblemen and great men of Arabia asked for her hand in marriage. They thought that due to their wealth and high social position they would be successful in marrying Zainab (PBUH).
For example, Ash’ath Ibn-Qeis, who was one of the wealthiest men and a close relative to the first caliph, was very dignified, and thought his closeness to the first caliph would made it possible for him to become the son-in-law of Amir Al-Mu’minin (PBUH).
It is said that one day he was in Imam Ali’s (PBUH) house while he saw Zainab (PBUH) passing by from a distance. Then he asked her father if he could marry her, but Amir Al-Mu’minin (PBUH) refused and reproached him for his arrogance. (1)
Among the men who were eager to marry Zainab (PBUH) was Abdullah Ibn-Jaffar. He was a close companion to the Prophet and Amir Al-Mu’minin (PBUT).
Abullah Ibn-Jaffar was the son of Jaffar Tayyar, the martyr whom the Prophet had mentioned that he flies in the heavens with his two wings. Jaffar Tayyar was the brother of Amir Al-Mu’minin (PBUH) and was a forerunner in Islam and Jihad. His munificence and generosity had made him very famous among the Arabs so much so that they called him “the father of the poor.” His son Abdullah had inherited this attitude.
All the historians refer to Abdullah as a very gracious person. They have especially written about his generosity and benevolence. According to the historians, he was the foremost generous people of his time,(2) to the extent that some have called him “the master of generosity.”
Abullah Ibn-Jaffar was a person whom Imam Ali (PBUH) had trust in. Later he took a great part in the Jihads along with Imam Ali (PBUH). In the battle of Seffin he was one of the commanders of the Imam’s army.
Like other suitors, Abdullah was interested in marrying Zainab (PBUH), but felt embarrassed to state his request directly. He sent a courier to Imam Ali (PBUH) and offered the proposal. Imam Ali (PBUH), who saw him the best, accepted his request. But how much was the marriage-portion? Imam Ali (PBUH) put Zainab’s (PBUH) dowry equal to her mother’s. (3) However, this auspicious wedding had one condition. Zainab (PBUH) should be allowed to travel along with her brother Hussain (PBUH). She should be allowed to visit her brother too. In fact, it rarely happened that they didn’t meet everyday.
Finally, this wedding took place, and Zainab (PBUH) went to her husband’s house. Of course, the house of Abullah Ibn-Jaffar, who was a very wealthy man, was a big house with lots of servants, but history witnesses that Zainab (PBUH) never got attached to worldly life.
She was a pious woman in the perfect sense. Piety (Zuhd) in her vocabulary was exactly what her father depicted, “Zuhd is that one owns the world, not that the world and its charms become the owner of the person.” (4)
The best evidence of Zainab’s (PBUH) piety was that she left her comfortable and prosperous life with servants and wealth for a divine and holy goal. Just like a person who is aware of the future and its happenings, she put her condition for marriage that she should be allowed to travel with Imam Hussain (PBUH) to fulfill that goal.
Like other women, she was very affectionate. However, whenever necessary, she was strong like a mountain in the path of Islam. Like other mothers, she was a kind and loving mother, but when it came to defending Islam and the Holy Quran and her religious duty, she would sacrifice her children as well.
Who is like Zainab (PBUH) in having all that wealth and not being attached to it? Who is like her, having a warm house, nice husband and children, and bear hunger and homelessness in order to fulfilling her holy goals? Is this anything except Islamic piety?
(Taken from the book, “Life of Lady Zainab (PBUH), Mission of Blood and Message” by Dr. Ali Qa’emi)
Congratulations on the 5th of Jamadi al-Awwal, the birthday anniversary of the symbol of piety and complete certainty, Lady Zainab (PBUH).
1. Iqd al-Farid, vol.3, p. 301
2. Al-Isti’ab by Ibn Abd al-Birr
3. 480 or 500 Dirham, each Dirham is equal to a religious Methqal of Silver.
4. Nahj al-Balaghah